It was a cold day in Western New York but the Rotary Club was focused on a day in the Netherlands.  Our speaker, former Exchange Student Andrew Russo, shared a day in his life during his time in the Netherlands as an exchange student.  He began with the weather; typical days had that bright overcast/might rain look and the temperature never reached what we would consider hot.  The day started with a breakfast of two pieces of bead with chocolate sprinkles and an apple.  Then it was off to school, but there was no school bus for Andrew, depending on where he lived at the time a bike ride of 20 to 45 minutes was required just to get to school.  Bike riding is a common method of transportation in the Netherlands and he became quite fit while there.  The school structure was also different from what we have in the states.  Classes seemed to be shorter and there were often times when he had no classes for long stretches.  He had no language tutor while he was there and language did pose some problems at school.    All classes were taught in Dutch with the exception of English class, in which Andrew excelled.  The other students were influenced a lot by the US, particularly English television.
While in the Netherlands, Andrew stayed with four host families.  In each he had two host sisters.  Sisters are a common thing for Andrew since he has three of his own.  Other highlights of his year included the crowning of a new King and Queen, and Santa’s arrival on December 5th.   He also went snowboarding  in Schilthorn Switzerland twice, with one of his host families.  One of the host families had season tickets for the local football team.  And there was the Euro-tour, two weeks on a bus with 30 to 40 students, touring the major cities of Europe.  It sounds like a wonderful experience.
Now that he is back home, the 2012 JHS graduate is a freshman at RIT studying Civil Engineering.  He is the son of Cheryl and Mike Russo.  Andrew thanked the Club for making this life changing experience possible.
Pictured above are Lisa Yaggie, Andrew Russo and President Sharon Hamilton.